As reported by Censor.NET citing a press release by the European Commission, this new funding of 3 million euros, under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace, will provide timely and focused assistance to the OSCE, in the area of satellite imagery.
"The use of satellite imagery allows for more in-depth monitoring of the situation in areas where regrettably monitors still do not have access to, and also for a more efficient deployment of monitors in general", EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini said.
"This fresh support again underlines the European Union's strong commitment to the full respect of the Minsk agreements, which offer the best chance for moving towards a peaceful, sustainable solution to the conflict in Ukraine based on respect for its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and our determination to accompany and support the work of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission."
Satellite imagery remains an essential planning and analytical tool, especially because it allows the Special Monitoring Mission to map wide areas which are inaccessible to its monitors and to report on infrastructure damage as well as on the presence and movement of people and equipment.
As has been the case for previous support from the EU's Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), this funding will continue to be channelled via the European Union Satellite Centre which will procure the necessary imagery and provide analysis products to the OSCE, at the request of the latter. The activities will directly complement other, ongoing IcSP-financed actions to fund the operational costs of the monitors, as well as to enhance technological surveillance capabilities, including through the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, night vision cameras, sensors and other monitoring means.
The European Union has been supporting the SMM from the beginning of the Mission's operations and continues to play an active part in ensuring that it is able to execute its tasks in the best possible way, including through the new funding announced today. The Special Monitoring Mission has played, and continues to play, an essential role in observing and reporting in an impartial and objective way on the situation in eastern Ukraine.
Since its inception in April 2014, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has received €30 million support from the EU's Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace, allowing the SMM to expand and develop its technical monitoring capabilities. The OSCE SMM mandate has recently been extended until March 2018.